Rorschach

I met Rorschach on February 1, 2014, at PAWS shelter in Seattle. My boyfriend Chris had broken up with me the day before, and I decided that it was time to get a cat.

Rorschach’s name at the shelter was Jack Frost. He was six years old. He had come to the shelter about 2 months before, around Christmas time. His black ears had white frosted tips and he had gained a reputation for being a little standoffish with people. His “cat personality” according to the shelter was “The Secret Admirer.”

When I saw him, he was curled up in a ball on the windowsill. A PAWS employee told me that he had arrived after spending a couple of months at another shelter. He had been moved to this new, no-kill shelter to avoid euthanasia. He hadn’t bonded with any person since coming through, but he had been inseparable from a Siamese cat that used to sit with him on the windowsill. That Siamese cat had just been adopted the day before. Rorschach was missing him and had been curled up in a ball in the same spot on the windowsill since his friend left.

I tried getting him to smell my hand and then petting him. His coat was soft, but he didn’t respond. He stayed in his tight bundle, holding one paw over his face. I identified with the loneliness and sadness he was experiencing, and I knew that we needed each other. When I told the employee that I wanted to adopt Jack Frost, her face lit up with relief.

When I took him to my apartment, I opened his carrier and he immediately perked up. He was thrilled to be out of the shelter and in his new home. He walked around the whole apartment, smelling everything and purring. He ate all the food I gave him and sat on my lap to thank me for it. I didn’t have much furniture at the time, but I did have a blanket that my grandma crocheted for me for Christmas. I laid it out on my bed next to my pillow, and he seemed to like the texture.

I began pondering names for him. He had beautiful black markings on his white coat. One was in a tree shape on his nose. One was in the shape of a heart on his side. I thought about calling him Valentine, my February cat. I thought about Panda. I thought about Cow or Catcow. I mentioned the idea of Rorschach to a couple of friends, who didn’t seem to understand the name until I explained “he’s like the inkblot test.” The idea was met with confused reactions, so I decided to wait on it.

The next day, I was reluctant to leave him for a couple of hours to watch the Super Bowl and rushed home after watching the Seahawks win. As would be our routine for years later, I called him over “Come on up! It’s time!” He jumped up on the bed and I crawled into the covers. He laid on my feet as I escaped from the day. I was still sad, but I had a feeling that I had found my best friend. He sat with me for hours, the perfect companion, as he would be for years.

A few days later, after work one day, there was an unexpected knock on my door. Chris had written me a letter apologizing for breaking up and saying that he made a mistake. I told him that I had gotten a cat and he asked to meet him. When he asked what his name was, I decided “his name is Rorschach.” Chris Rorschach was a very good name for him.

Rorschach had a big personality. He was the ultimate gourmand and lived for mealtime. After a few weeks of free-feeding him, I learned that he needed stricter mealtimes. I started feeding him at morning and at night. He learned the best ways to wake me up for his breakfast time in the mornings and expert dinner begging routines for the evenings. He loved to stand near a corner of the wall and howl so that his voice would echo. He also enjoyed a running howl. Rorschach inevitably gained weight, despite my efforts to get him interested in playtime and exercise. He did like playing with feathers if I made a big effort, but was more interested in window lounging.

He was a sun patch connoisseur. Over the many times we moved together – between 7 places from Seattle to Portland, he always found a window spot, sunny patch, or catio. He knew how to find the sun and he lived for it. And he was my sunshine through some of the darkest times in my life.

A donation was made in Rorschach's memory and the memorial was created on June 6, 2022.

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